The keys to approaching the 2nd half
#1 – Where are you in the standings? How the team in front approaches the last 3 months of the season is not the same as the ones chasing him down. As ashamed as I am to admit, I’m the chaser in all of my leagues, but I’m within striking distance in all of them. Mid-August (most trading deadlines) is not the time to start making gambles; that time is now. If you’re out in front you need to anticipate what your competition is trying to do to catch you and make subtle moves to improve in areas they’re trying to catch you. i.e. if you’re out in front in saves make a modest offer to get Casey Janssen or Alfredo Aceves. There’s a reasonable chance they lose the job at some point, but you’ll add another 5-10 saves in the interim and it won’t cost you much. Those chasing you need to pay up for guys that are expected to keep the job the rest of the year, make it harder on them.
#2 – Where can you gain points? If you are sitting on 67 steals and the next closest to you on either side have 51 and 92 steals respectively it’s not going to do you any good to trade for another base stealer. Identify the areas in which you can gain the most points by acquiring one player and target those guys first.
#3 – Identify 1st half over and under achievers. We’re here to help, but if you want to get a head start do some research on any of your guys currently in the top 100 and see if they’re regression candidates. These guys must go on the trade block immediately. On the other side of the coin, filter through the preseason’s top 100 and identify all players who haven’t lived up to their billing then determine if they’re due for an uptick in the second half. Then send trade offers for all of those players, ideally using 1st half over achievers.
#4 – Hot streaks, hot streaks, hot streaks! Most of the quality minor league prospects have already come up, so to get cheap stats you’re going to have to ride some hot streaks. We’re here to help tip you off, but anytime you see a guy scorching over the course of a week or two (especially at positions of need) pick him up, start him, and ask questions later. Once he cools off rotate him back out and bring another hot streak in. You aren’t going to find another Mike Trout or R.A. Dickey on waivers after the All Star break.
#5 – Streaming. This goes in line with trade strategy too. If you’re chasing you’re probably going to have to trade for a bat then patch together your pitching staff with sticky tack and glue. I’ve been doing it for a month in a couple of leagues and it’s going to continue for the duratuion. For those in daily leagues you can do this with bats too. I’m in a daily league in which I have to rotate David Murphy, Travis Hafner, and Ike Davis (all only start vs. righties) in 2 starting positions. If I see a day coming up in which two of them draw lefties I need to hit waivers and use my extra roster spot to get a favorable matchup. This week that guy is Seth Smith, who gets to face off against one of the three worst pitching staffs in the league in Minnesota. Yes, go add him if you need someone for the weekend.
Last – Forget about where you drafted them! As the season winds down and your early round picks just aren’t panning out (I’m looking at you Howie Kendrick) if they’re not turning it around and there’s a hot bat available then make the move before it’s too late. Hitting a baseball is arguably the hardest thing to do in sports and once a player goes into a funk it is very difficult to fight out of it. Sometimes players get it in-season, but many times the 4 month break is needed to correct their stroke.
Be on the lookout tomorrow for the return of the Daily 10!